What is a Neurosurgeon?
A neurosurgeon is a surgical specialist who treats diseases and conditions affecting the nervous system, which includes the brain, the spine and spinal cord, and the peripheral nerves. Neurosurgeons provide non-operative and surgical treatment to patients of all ages.
Today, most neurosurgeons perform more spine than brain surgeries. Some neurosurgeons specialize in specific types of spinal problems, such as cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) disorders, spinal cord injury, or by age group. Pediatric neurosurgeons treat infants and children, while other neurosurgeons specialize in disorders affecting adults.
In the United States, neurosurgeons typically have completed four years of pre-medical education, four years of medical school, and six to eight years of neurosurgical residency training (including the intern, or first, year). Neurosurgeons may also elect to complete a fellowship of one to two additional years in a neurosurgical subspecialty (pediatrics, oncology, endovascular, epilepsy, spine, functional, etc.). This training is the longest of all U.S. medical specialties. In the United States, there are only about 3,000 neurosurgeons.